Last year, Venus Williams flopped in her Wimbledon debut. This time, she nearly didn't show up.
The 18-year-old American came within five minutes of being defaulted when she got lost on the All England Club grounds and turned up late for her first-round match Tuesday."I could never figure out where Court 13 was," she said. "I thought I was playing on Court 18, but I thought that was Court 13, but no."
Williams said she made it on time, but WTA Tour officials confirmed she was 10 minutes late. A no-show after 15 minutes results in an automatic default.
Winning the match proved easier than finding the court as the seventh-seeded Williams cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Canada's Jana Nejedly - one of only 14 matches completed on a day disrupted by intermittent showers.
Other women's seeds advancing Tuesday were No. 1 Martina Hingis, No. 3 Jana Novotna, No. 14 Sandrine Testud and No. 16 Natha-lie Tauziat.
The forecast was better for today, with No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, No. 4 Steffi Graf and No. 6 Monica Seles among those scheduled to play second-round matches.
The only men's seed to complete a match Tuesday was No. 6 Patrick Rafter, who downed Swiss qualifier Ivo Heuberger, 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
Fourth-seeded Greg Rusedski, limping with a sprained left ankle, split the first two sets against Mark Draper and trailed 5-4 in the third. Richard Krajicek, the 1996 champion and No. 9 seed, led Brett Steven two sets to love.
In second-round matches scheduled today, defending champion Pete Sampras was to face Sweden's Mikael Tillstrom, and Andre Agassi was up against Germany's Tommy Haas.
Getting past the opening round was a relief for Williams, who was upset in her first Wimbledon match last year by Magdalena Grzybowska. Williams lost her only grass-court match this year at the Wimbledon warmup event at East-bourne.
"It feels real nice," she said. "It's comforting to know that I'm doing better."
But Williams isn't doing much different. She remained glued to the baseline and refused to try the serve-and-volley tactics that are more effective on grass.
"I wasn't really trying too many things," she said. "My plan was more or less, make my shots and get off the court before it rains."